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With melting glaciers, rising sea levels, heat waves, and wildfires, the planet operates in crisis mode. The primary culprit-Global Warming. With all of this going on, we’ve heard recommendations about efforts to stop global warming.
These suggestions may be helpful, but do they have any real impact? To comprehend this, we must first understand the fundamentals.
Global warming is the increase in average temperatures across the globe. It is primarily caused by human activities that release greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere, trapping heat and enhancing the greenhouse effect.
Since the turn of the 20th century, the planet’s average temperature has risen by 0.8o Celsius. Since the start of the statistical surveys, the last three decades have been warmer than before. By 2100, experts predict that the average global temperature will have risen by 1.5° to 5.3°C at the present rate of CO2 emissions.
Several organic phenomena, including water vapour and sunspots, cause global warming. However, the primary cause of global warming is anthropogenic GHGs, and transportation is the number one sector responsible for greenhouse gas emissions. But why do energy and vehicles affect our earth so much?
Distribution of CO2 emissions produced by the transportation sector worldwide in 2021
Burning fossil fuels like coal, gas, or oil is required to produce the electricity needed for these industries. Carbon dioxide, which according to the EPA, makes up 82% of the gases in our atmosphere that retain heat, is released when fossil fuels are burned.
The transportation industry has the most considerable dependency on fossil fuels, and in 2021, it was responsible for 37% of all end-use sector CO2 emissions.
In other terms, excessive transportation and electricity lead to an atmosphere that is excessively rich in gases that overheat the globe.
Global warming, however, is also a result of other factors. While carbon dioxide receives most of the attention, methane is another greenhouse gas significantly warming our world. Methane, which cows essentially produce, is said to be responsible for around 20% of global warming, according to National Geographic.
Another significant factor in the extra CO2 in the atmosphere is deforestation. As per the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, deforestation is the second most significant man-made source of carbon dioxide.
About 20% of yearly worldwide greenhouse gas emissions are caused by deforestation in tropical regions. The GHGs produced by the destruction of tropical forests were grossly overestimated before 2019. Only 10% of the world’s rainforests may survive by 2030.
Since knowledge of the primary causes of global warming has been established, how do we address this problem? Ask ourselves: What is the most effective strategy for people to reduce their electricity use? How can our carbon impact be diminished?
Most importantly, we should do our part to save the environment. Here is a list of individuals’ best actions to prevent global warming and preserve the environment.
The burning of fossil fuels is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Switching to green alternatives such as solar, wind, and hydropower can significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Governments, businesses, and individuals can promote and invest in renewable energy infrastructure, including installing solar panels, wind farms, and hydroelectric power plants. Additionally, implementing policies that incentivize the use of renewable energy and discourage fossil fuel consumption can accelerate the transition process.
Improving energy efficiency is another effective strategy to combat global warming. Reducing energy consumption in buildings, transportation, and industrial processes can lower greenhouse gas emissions. Energy-efficient technologies, such as LED lighting, smart thermostats, and high-efficiency appliances, can significantly save energy. Moreover, adopting energy-conservation practices like carpooling, using public transportation, and promoting telecommuting can further reduce carbon footprints.
The transportation sector is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Shifting towards sustainable transportation options can be crucial in tackling global warming. Governments should invest in public transportation systems, encourage using electric vehicles (EVs), and develop infrastructure to support cycling and walking. Promoting shared mobility and implementing carpooling initiatives can also reduce traffic congestion and emissions.
Forests serve as carbon sinks by naturally collecting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Deforestation and forest degradation release significant amounts of carbon dioxide, contributing to global warming. Protecting existing forests, implementing sustainable forestry practices, and promoting reforestation efforts are essential steps to combat climate change. Reforestation projects can sequester carbon, enhance biodiversity, support local communities, and provide economic opportunities.
The agricultural sector is a significant emitter of greenhouse gases, mainly through livestock production, methane emissions, and deforestation for agriculture expansion. Implementing sustainable agricultural practices, such as organic farming, agroforestry, and precision agriculture, can reduce emissions and enhance carbon sequestration. Moreover, promoting plant-based diets and reducing food waste promotes a sustainable food system.
Implementing carbon pricing mechanisms, such as carbon taxes or cap-and-trade systems, can incentivize businesses and individuals to reduce carbon emissions. By putting a price on carbon, these measures encourage the adoption of cleaner technologies, energy efficiency, and renewable energy sources. Financial incentives, grants, and subsidies for sustainable practices and investments can facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Improper waste management contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, mainly by decomposing organic waste in landfills. Implementing waste reduction, recycling, and composting programs can significantly reduce methane emissions. Additionally, promoting advanced waste-to-energy technologies, such as anaerobic digestion and incineration with energy recovery, can help transform waste into a valuable energy resource.
The construction and operation of buildings contribute to a large share of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Green building practices, including energy-efficient designs, sustainable materials, and improved insulation, can reduce energy consumption and emissions. Building codes and certifications prioritizing sustainability can incentivize the construction industry to embrace environmentally friendly practices.
In addition to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, investing in climate adaptation and resilience measures is crucial. As the impacts of global warming intensify, communities need to adapt to changing conditions and become more resilient. This includes developing early warning systems for extreme weather events, implementing infrastructure improvements to withstand climate-related risks, and enhancing natural ecosystems that act as buffers against climate impacts.
Raising awareness and educating individuals about climate change is essential for fostering widespread action. Governments, educational institutions, and organizations should prioritize climate change education and promote sustainable behaviors. Encouraging public participation through campaigns, workshops, and initiatives can empower individuals to act daily and advocate for more robust climate policies.
Tackling global warming requires a multifaceted approach involving individuals, communities, businesses, and governments. By implementing the ten proven solutions outlined in this article—transitioning to renewable energy, promoting energy efficiency, adopting sustainable transportation and agriculture, conserving forests, implementing carbon pricing, improving waste management, embracing green building practices, investing in climate adaptation, and raising awareness—, we can make significant progress in combating climate change and safeguarding the planet for future generations. We must act collectively and swiftly to mitigate global warming and secure a sustainable and prosperous future.
Also Read: Global Warming: All You Need To Know